National Product Policies Town Hall & Webinar, 9/10

September 10, 10am-12pm PST / 1-3pm EST


Many healthy debates arise when discussing the gamut of product recycling and disposal policies. Are bans and fees useful tools to encourage waste reduction, reuse, recycling and composting? Why is there more interest in deposits on beverage containers in recent years? Are Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) programs best used for hard to recycle materials?

Join this webinar for a moderated Town Hall-style event, featuring a fantastic panel of experts. Help identify areas of consensus among the different perspectives on the panel. There will be a robust discussion of these and other topics with panelists to help build a better understanding of various policies, with a lively Q&A session! Feedback from panelists and attendees will be used to guide how NRC should update its policies on these issues.

The NRC Policy Committee will compile the results of these sessions into recommendations for action to the NRC Board of Directors to consider in updating NRC policies and programs to support these topic areas.

Topics to be discussed include: Bans, Fees, Deposits (including Bottle Bills), Minimum Content, Extended Producer Responsibility


  • Moderator, Susan Collins, Container Recycling Institute and NRC Board of Directors
  • Ruth Abbe, Zero Waste USA
  • Heidi Sanborn, National Stewardship Action Council
  • Miriam Gordon, UPSTREAM
  • Scott Cassel, Product Stewardship Institute
  • Clarissa Morawski, Reloop Platform
  • Jamie Kaminski, Zero Waste Canada

Speaker Bios

Ruth Abbe

Ruth Abbe

Ruth Abbe is a Zero Waste practitioner with more than 25 years of experience in recycling and composting program and facility development and outreach and technical assistance. As president of Zero Waste USA, she is working with municipalities across the U.S. to develop the social and physical infrastructure to achieve Zero Waste. As co-chair of the Global Recycling Council of CRRA, she facilitated its workshop series “Turning the Ship Around |Wading Through the Plastic Seas” highlighting the issues of plastic pollution and problem markets. She has expertise in organics and commercial technical assistance, waste audits, facility and collection procurement, contract negotiation, program planning, financial analysis and stakeholder engagement. Ruth has developed Zero Waste plans and programs for Austin, Texas, Dallas, Texas, Boston, Massachusetts, Los Angeles, California, and Palo Alto, California.
Zero Waste USA/Global Recycling Council of CRRA
Scott Cassel

Scott Cassel

Scott Cassel has over 35 years of experience in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors solving materials management problems. As CEO of the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI), he has led the movement that built the capacity for product stewardship in the US over the past two decades. Scott also developed the facilitation process that PSI uses for stakeholder engagement and consensus-building, which laid the foundation for the passage of most of the nation’s extended producer responsibility laws, including the first industry-run, government-mandated paint stewardship program. Prior to founding PSI in 2000, Scott served as the Director of Waste Policy and Planning for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, where he developed and implemented solid and hazardous waste management policies and programs. He has written extensively on product stewardship topics, including the product stewardship chapters in the Future of Packaging: From Linear to Circular and the Handbook on Household Hazardous Waste. Scott holds a master’s degree in Environmental Policy and Dispute Resolution from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a bachelor’s degree in Geology and Environmental Studies from the University of Pennsylvania.

Product Stewardship Institute

Founder & CEO

Heidi Sanborn

Heidi Sanborn

Heidi has been a leader in the solid waste industry for 30 years, working with industry, government, and the public to reduce waste, improve product design and recyclability, and implement cost-effective projects and policies which protect public health and the environment and support a circular economy.

Heidi began her career as a consultant working on mandated recycling goals, then became Policy Advisor to the Chair of the California Integrated Waste Management Board, now known as the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) 2000-2002.

Heidi was one of the original co-directors of the California Product Stewardship Council (CPSC), a non-profit formed in 2007 to change the way waste management is funded in California. CPSC gained international recognition as a thought leader and driver for producer responsibility programs.

After eight years of success in California, Heidi formed the National Stewardship Action Council (NSAC) as an affiliate of CPSC and went full-time with the NSAC in 2020. Both organizations are nonprofits, although NSAC is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization that will engage primarily in lobbying and advocacy work for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) and a Circular Economy anywhere in the U.S. and at any level of government.

In 2017, NSAC sponsored its legislation, Assembly Bill 1158 to improve California’s existing carpet stewardship program which became law. One year later, NSAC worked with CPSC to drive Senate Bill 212 to passage, a first-in-the-nation bill that requires the producers of mediations and sharps to fund and operate a statewide take-back program in CA. In 2019, NSAC sponsored and passed two more bills, SB 726 (Caballero) to make Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) reuse easy to implement in California and AB 729 (Chu) on carpet recycling which included the first eco-modulated fee requirement in the U.S.. Heidi’s ability to educate and advocate legislators, as well as her innate skill at collaboration, negotiating, and strategy was integral in passing both bills.

She has engaged diverse stakeholder groups to create and promote best-in-class product stewardship programs for pharmaceuticals, mercury thermostats, carpets, paint, fluorescent lights, batteries, and gas cylinders. Heidi speaks throughout the world and won awards and commendations, such as the 2018 California Board of Pharmacy’s “Friend of Pharmacy” award. She has been frequently published on the topic, done interviews on National Public Radio, ABC 7 San Francisco, NBC Nightly News, and been quoted in the Wall Street Journal.

Heidi teaches courses to professionals in the waste industry, including Sustainable Resource Management Professionals courses. She is an active member of industry associations and serves as an elected official on the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) Board of Directors on her personal time.

National Stewardship Action Council

Executive Director

Clarissa Morawski

Clarissa Morawski

In 2015, Clarissa co-founded the Reloop Platform. It is a international not-for-profit association comprised of industry, ENGOs and cities that collectively support policy to further a circular economy. Reloop collaborates using value-chain networks that provide technical and analytical expertise to help better define, communicate and deploy waste minimization policies and operations.

Clarissa Morawski is from Canada and brings over 25 years of experience in waste minimization policy and operations. In 1998 Clarissa founded, and is Principal of, CM Consulting which undertakes regular research related to extended producer responsibility at a global level.

Clarissa has authored more than 100 articles and cover stories on Extended Producer Responsibility, product policy in waste management for recycling publications, including US-based Resource Recycling where she currently contributes a regular column called ¨Dispatches from Europe.

She currently resides with her family in Barcelona, Spain.

Miriam Gordon

Miriam Gordon

Miriam is a Program Director with UPSTREAM, and spends her days working to make throw-away a thing of the past. She is a leading architect of local and state policies aimed at promoting the reduce/reuse agenda and also focuses on accelerating and innovating reuse systems in food service at the community level and in public venues.

Prior to joining UPSTREAM, Miriam was the California Director of Clean Water Action, where she developed a program on waste prevention and launched ReThink Disposable, a program that has demonstrated that reducing throw away products in food service saves food businesses money and improves customers’ dining experiences. She has been a leading California advocate, working with allies in the Clean Seas Coalition to secure 150 local bag bans and 100 foam bans, the state-wide plastic bag ban, and California’s ban on plastic microbeads.

Miriam previously worked with local, state and federal agencies implementing pollution prevention and water quality programs. She has helped to shape California’s trash regulations for storm-water control and various state strategies to address packaging waste and plastic pollution.

Miriam holds a JD Degree from Vermont Law School and was an undergraduate at Vassar College.


Indisposable Communities Director

Jamie Kaminski

Jamie Kaminski

Jamie’s experience is in solid waste management from both a ground level and a policy making perspective. Jamie’s area of expertise lies within international best practices in Zero Waste, and in respect to internationally accepted Zero Waste policies and programs. He works with fellow policy advisors to create strong, practical and enforceable policies that drive change towards Zero Waste. Jamie developed his policymaking experience here in Canada via the Recycling Council of BC (between 2006 and 2014), as an active member of the Metro Vancouver Disposal Ban Effectiveness working group (as of 2013), and of the Recycle First Coalition, a group of 12 of the largest processors in BC dedicated to providing quality input to the revision of Metro Vancouver’s bylaw 181, that governs the licensing and structure of Solid Waste Management in the Region of Metro Vancouver (between 2013 and 2016). Jamie developed his international policymaking experience as a panel advisor for the United Labs Technical Panel for UL2799 Zero Waste to Landfill Certification Standard (as of 2013), and as an active member of the certification committee for the Zero Waste International Alliance policy group (as of 2014), where Jamie chaired the International Zero Waste Definition and the International Zero Waste Hierarchy working groups. Jamie has in addition moderated and presented both locally and internationally at Zero Waste conferences from the United States to the Philippines. With over 27 years of experience in the resource management sector, Jamie represents the lead policy advisor for Zero Waste Canada, and is an active board member of the Zero Waste International Alliance (as of 2014).

Zero Waste Canada

Director of Policy

Susan Collins

Susan Collins

Ms. Collins is the President of the Container Recycling Institute (CRI) and has worked exclusively on recycling and sustainability issues for more than 25 years. Ms. Collins leads research projects for the Container Recycling Institute and works with environmental organizations, activists and state and federal governments throughout the United States and around the world to educate the public on the benefits of packaging recycling.

Founded in 1991, CRI’s mission is to make North America a global model for the collection and quality recycling of packaging materials. CRI is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that plays a vital national role in assessing the economic, social and environmental impacts of container manufacturing, collection and disposal, and ensures that this information is shared with policymakers, regulators and the general public. CRI produces authoritative research, studies impacts of packaging reuse and recycling systems, and creates national networks for mutual progress.

Ms. Collins is a current and former board member of the National Recycling Coalition (2010 to 2015, 2018 – present) and past board member and current advisor to the California Resource Recovery Association.

Ms. Collins has testified before the legislatures of California, Nevada, Iowa, Vermont, Maine, Minnesota, Maryland, Tennessee, Massachusetts, and the territories of the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

Ms. Collins has appeared on the Diane Rehm show, National Public Radio, PRI’s The World, BBC radio, KNX radio, Maryland Public Radio, KQED, KJZZ, KCRW and KPCC radio stations, and AlJazeera’s Tech Know (TV) and KCET’s Emmy-nominated SoCal Connected (TV), and has been quoted in news stories in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Fortune, The Economist, Bloomberg News, Slate, Mother Jones, FiveThirtyEight, Scientific American, Fast Company, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Boston Globe, Orange County Register, Resource Recycling, Waste 360, Plastics News, Recycling Today and Beverage World, among others.


She holds degrees in Manufacturing Engineering from Boston University and Business Administration (MBA) from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA).

Container Recycling Institute


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